Recently, Cochin International Airport in the southern Indian state of Kerala became the world’s first entirely solar-powered airport. The airport’s solar power plant has 46,000 solar panels across 45 acres of land and is expected to save over 300,000 tons worth of carbon emissions over the next 25 year. If you can’t estimate the positive impact think this way: this is the equivalent of planting three million trees or not driving 750 million miles.
Cochin International had begun the transition to renewable energy two years ago when it installed smaller solar panels on its arrivals terminal roof in March 2013. The switch to full solar power took place gradually in the intervening years and during this time the airport relied on a mixture of solar power and grid power.
Now, with the new onsite solar plant, the airport is considered “absolutely power neutral’’. Cochin International is one of the biggest airports in India, with over 1,500,000 square feet of terminal space alone, but the solar plant is expected to produce somewhere around 48,000 units of energy per day which is enough to fully meet the facility’s day-to-day energy needs.
Airports are one of the world’s biggest consumers of power which is why the Cochin International’s achievement can be seen as an important step in triggering a global positive change.